Who Invented Sunscreen?


The invention of sunscreen follows a history similar to many other inventions, where many people contributed to the product we have today. Sunscreen has been in existence since the 1940s, and became widely used two decades later. Here are some brief facts about the inventors and the history of sunscreen.


Sunscreen was first marketed commercially in the 1960s. The labeling we all know as SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, didn’t arrive until 1972, but was created in 1962 (see Resources).

Time Frame

The invention of sunscreen occurred over many years. The first experiments with a sunburn cream were in the 1930s, with the first effective sunscreen arriving in the late 1930s. in the 1940s, the first mass-produced sunscreen arrived.


Different sources identify different inventors for sunscreen. Milton Blake is commonly acknowledged as being the first to experiment with sunscreen. Eugene Schuller invented the first effective sunscreen. Ben Greene created what was the first mass-produced sunscreen (see Resources).


The first commercially viable sunscreen was Gletscher Crème by Franz Greiter (1938). The next sunscreen product was called Red Vet Pet, created in 1944 by Ben Greene; after World War II, Red Vet Pet was remade into the well-known brand Coppertone by Ben Greene (see Resources).


Various types of sunscreen have been invented along the way. A zinc cream was created in 1940, and other variations have been created since then. Today there are waterproof, spray-on and colored varieties. Different strengths also were developed for different countries like Australia, where sunscreen must be effective for 2 hours (United States standards only require 30 minutes).

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